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After 2020’s IPOs, 2021 might be the year of MSR

What's next for the mortgage industry in 2021?

Housing-2021

With record origination volume stretching capacity and a fresh infusion of capital from the public markets en route, a slew of big nonbank lenders are shifting strategies and declining to sell their mortgage servicing rights, which they’d previously relied on to fund their operations. 

In fact, roughly $70.8 billion in MSR transferred across the secondary market during the third quarter of 2020. That is the lowest total since 2015, according to Inside Mortgage Finance. 

Rocket Companies, which went public in August and was valued at approximately $38 billion, disclosed to investors that it retains servicing rights on the vast majority of mortgages it originates in the U.S. It’s part of the company’s strategy to thrive in all market conditions. 

When interest rates are low, Rocket can pump out a staggering volume of loans to borrowers. When interest rates rise, the value of MSR increases, which partially insulates the company from a slowdown in originations. (Industry-wide, MSR values have fallen by two-thirds over the last two years, primarily because of historically low interest rates and the effects of COVID-19.)

Rocket’s closest competitor in the lending game, Detroit-based United Wholesale Mortgage, is eyeing a similar thrive-in-all-conditions strategy.

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